|Amy at Florø|
Norway was one of those places where the journey was the adventure itself. Not in the sense of getting lost or missing connections, but the fact that every boat, bus and train ride was through some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. We started with our overnight ship voyage from Copenhagen to Oslo. With our room situated well under the waterline, even below the two levels of cars, we spent most of the journey sitting up on deck watching the coast of Denmark disappear, following Sweden and welcoming Norway and the Oslo fjord in the morning. We enjoyed the long purple sunset late in the evening, that being the only snippet of darkness of our whole time in Norway.
Coincidentally meeting up with Diane and Shannon who were in Oslo for two days on their way back to New York, the four of us spent a brief time seeing some sights in and around Oslo. Our highlight being the Viking Ship museum, which we had to take a ferry to from across the harbor. On our way in, an American man spotted Thomas' Beaver Creek T-shirt, chatted to us, and eventually gave us free tickets into the museum! We also caught a view of the royal palace and the site of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony between some serious rain downpours. We walked around the famous Vigeland Sculpture gardens, the old world Akershus Fortress and saw the sun attempting to set from atop the iceberg inspired opera house.
|Thomas getting stuck into the view|
A very early morning train, for bargain tickets, saw us enjoy the acclaimed 7 hour, 'most scenic train journey in the world' from Oslo to Bergen on the west coast. It was truly spectacular. Winding up out the back into deep fjords through green hills to desert like highlands over the center of the densely snow capped rolling mountains. The train would even stop and give us 10 minutes to check out the view in a few places.
We had a few hours to wiz about Bergen before our bus to Førde. We returned later in the week for a night before our flight to Edinburgh to take on some more of the old coastal fishing town of 300,000 people, the second biggest city in Norway. The brightly painted historic old wharf house buildings, being a World Heritage Site, were a standout as was the view from the top of the town hill. There were fish markets at the harbor side, selling whale, reindeer and elk meat. The city had a real vibrancy but still maintained that small coastal town feeling.
Our bus ride from Bergen to Førde, dare I say it, was the most spectacular I have ever taken. A good 4 hours of just ducking under mountain after mountain popping out along fjord after fjord, lit up under the brightest sun imanigable. Our journey also included a ferry boat to cross a sizable fjord! We eventually made it to Førde, and drove another 40 minutes still to our final stop at the Garlick's farm. We were staying with Rod's friend and my old boss Pete from Sheffield, who now owns a small farm up in the hills by a very small lake called Nes.
|Out the back of the Garlick's farm|
They live in a little slice of heaven out there, with 50 sheep, a few fields and mountains in every direction. We stayed for five days, helping out a bit on the farm, and went off on a few day trips and shared a glass or two of beer.
|Fishing in Nes|
Pete's wife Ginny took us out on a walk in the hills to say hello to some of their sheep, and later we were tasked with making a large bonfire to clear a paddock and we even shoveled out the winter shed. We were awarded with some fantastic hardy dinners though, and we both even enjoyed reindeer stew one night! One evening we paddled a boat out onto the lake with a couple of beers and a few fishing lines, taught Amy how to fish for the first time and came away with two nice wee rainbow trout. Made for fantastic eating the following evening.
|Heaven, even in the rain|
Driving the farm van, we headed to the coast at Florø and once again were just blown away with the surrounding steep fjords. How this country nestles itself amoungst this topography still bemused me, but they seem to make it work, utilising lots of tunnels is key. We even stopped and chatted with an extremely friendly Norwegian man, Amy first asking him if he spoke English in Norwegian, and once he said yes, he didn't stop! Another day we drove inland, getting way out into some awesome mountains, and gorgeous waterfalls. We sighted Europe's largest glacier and just felt completely overwhelmed by our surroundings.
Having a place to stay and dinner on the table, we thought we might have kept the spending down. But no, Norway was expensive, out of this world expensive. It was worth every cent though, and we look forward to visiting Pete and Ginny out on their farm again.
|Lost somewhere in Norway|